The frogs have succumbed to the spirit of the age. We’re having lunch with two hard-boiled smokers later today in Paris – will they light up despite the new ban? We’ll see. The French usually have the good sense to ignore the law; public smoking may still survive in the land of Liberte.
“C’est la merde…” said a taxi driver. “Everything is forbidden. Everything. I’m sick of it.”
Soon, we fear, people will not be allowed to smoke in private either.
But how do the health police know the world will be a better place without the smell of cigarette smoke? In the old days, a man sentenced to death would get a chance to smoke a cigarette before the firing squad shot him dead. Or, a man wheezing with a critical chest wound on the battlefield would ask his buddies for one last smoke. The U.S. army gave out cigarettes; it settled nerves. Our own father reported that he couldn’t have waged war in the Pacific islands without the help of the Philip Morris Company.
And how could you discuss Sartre or Foucault, without cigarette smoke to blot out the imbecilities of it? How could Marlene Dietrich have appeared so seductive, without a cigarette dangling in her hand? Or, Humphrey Bogart…what would he have been without smokes? Bacall might have paid no attention to him.
Thousands of people die because of tobacco, say the meddlers. True. But how many survive without it? It is never a question of whether…but only when.
Cigarettes have surely hastened millions to an early grave…but who measures the good they might have done? Who can tell, except the smokers themselves?
We have never smoked a cigarette, but we are thinking of taking it up just to find out.